Formatting a Strong Speech Outline

Using outlines along with MLA and APA style guides, writers at any level can write sound outlines and avoid plagiarism.

Welcome

Hello! My name is Marla Means, and I am one of your Cartersville librarians. I have put this guide together to help you with your speech outline.

Let's Start with an Outline!

We've all been taught how to write a 5 paragraph essay, but we need to revisit exactly why it is such a strong writing and speaking tool:

  1. Introduction – include an interesting lead or hook, a thesis statement, and the main points of your argument
  2. Topic 1
  1. Main Idea
  1. Support/Evidence
    1. Detail/Example
    2. Detail/Example
  2. Support/Evidence
    1. Detail/Example
    2. Detail/Example
  1. Main Idea
  1. Support/Evidence
    1. Detail/Example
    2. Detail/Example
  2. Support/Evidence
    1. Detail/Example
    2. Detail/Example
  1. Topic 2
  1. Main Idea
  1. Support/Evidence
    1. Detail/Example
    2. Detail/Example
  2. Support/Evidence
    1. Detail/Example
    2. Detail/Example
  1. Main Idea
  1. Support/Evidence
    1. Detail/Example
    2. Detail/Example
  2. Support/Evidence
    1. Detail/Example
    2. Detail/Example
  1. Topic 3
  1. Main Idea
  1. Support/Evidence
    1. Detail/Example
    2. Detail/Example
  2. Support/Evidence
    1. Detail/Example
    2. Detail/Example
  1. Main Idea
  1. Support/Evidence
    1. Detail/Example
    2. Detail/Example
  2. Support/Evidence
    1. Detail/Example
    2. Detail/Example
  1. Conclusion – include a summary of your main points, a restatement of your thesis/argument, and a final comment/opinion/main idea that would allow for further research or a continuation of your speech

This outline for a 5 paragraph essay does not leave one subject to uphold the argument, and absolutely no subject is alone. There are always at least two categories per idea, supporting evidence, and details or examples. These subjects interact with one another in order to form a stronger argument.

This outline also allows paragraphs to flow easily between subjects. Following the example outline above, you should have a speech paragraph that is structured like this:

Topic sentence. Main idea. Support/evidence. Detail/Example. Detail Example. Concluding Sentence. Transition sentence.

Your speech paragraph should always begin with your observations and/or ideas, and it should always end with a transition sentence that transitions into your next topic sentence. The transition sentence connects your ideas and introduces the next point of your speech. 

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